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I’ve been a member of the Screen Actors Guild for 48 years (Holy cinema, Sparky!) and that means that I get free DVDs of all the votable movies for the awards presentation each year. Whoopee!

Yep, I get ‘em all—"Argo,” "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," "Les Misérables," "Silver Linings Playbook," and on and on. It’s tough work to watch all these free films, but somebody has to do it. 

The celebration process for SAG might work for you in the following 3 ways:

The church needs to celebrate its successes. Everyone does! If something works, talk about it, get the word out, let the best of the best ideas rise to the top of your congregation’s awareness.

Every time you launch a new program it costs capital. Money or people…it costs, but it's not about the cost. Whatever the resources used, it’s always good to make a little fuss, or a big one for that matter, when a new initiative has really worked as planned.

These days, there can be such an obsessive quality about churches not meeting their budgets, therfore, some good news can go a long way to facilitate hope and encourage future growth. One church I read about a couple of years ago has a kind of “Academy Awards” dinner every year where they highlight programs that have changed or are changing the church and the community. They give each award a name like, “Biggest Leap of Faith Award.” 

Celebrate people too! My former boss used to ask the staff at our weekly lunches, “Who caught someone doing something right this week?” and people would stand all over the room to recognize someone else! The presenters fussed over the recipient! 

As a member of staff, you shouldn't have to brag about what's going on in your area of interest. Please, please find someone else to do this work. 

On a much larger scale, the whole church could be invited to highlight programs in the church in which they are not at all involved and the people who help make them happen. Praise usually sounds better coming from observers, not the creatives who made it happen. 

Build new and exciting goals every year. Those goals don’t have to be huge, they’re just things that the whole church wants to accomplish in the next 12 months.We're not talking about 5 year plans here. This is about attainable goals that can be done in a year.

It takes forever to make a movie, and often it takes forever to get things accomplished in the church. If, though, the result is positive, we should celebrate like they usually do at the Screen Actors Guild Awards…where everybody runs up on stage and hugs each other! Are we hugging each other enough over the things that God has blessed in our churches!

Finally...probably one of the biggest downers a church can have is the “Annual Report.” You know how awful they can be, with their dull litany of accomplishments being droned out from department heads.

Wouldn’t it be great if churches celebrated the end of the year with really good news at a really grateful party? 




User Comments – Give us your opinion!
  • Anthony Coppedge
    Good thoughts, Doug. I've seen this done well and not-so-well at churches. In the ones doing it well, it's meaningful and even a little competitive (in a good way). In those where it's not, it's really more about rewarding good intentions and sincere effort more than anything else.

    Great idea: but it's gotta have substance, real meaning and significant effort applied to make it meaningful.
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